I’m exhausted, hungry and grumpy as all fuck. Thank god then that this is the final leg home otherwise I’m likely to go all Alec Baldwin in a hunger-induced rampage. Not making matters any better is sitting here on the tarmac deicing while having to listen to that mind-numbing muzac that all Delta flights seem to play in the cabin just before take-off . As soon as we’re airborne I’m plugged into my last Texas-themed album, ‘Exit 0‘ by Steve Earle.
Why I haven’t listened to Steve Earle on my previous trips to San Antonio is, well, sacrilegious really. Despite his popularity in Nashville, Steve Earle is about as Texas as ten gallon hats. Released in 1987, this album is credited to both Earle and his touring band, the Dukes. It was nominated for two 1988 Grammy Awards, Best Male Country Vocalist for the title track, and Best Country Song for ‘Nowhere Road‘.
Earle once told a reporter that after listening to the final mix of the album, he and his band hopped on their tour bus and played yet another gig that night, which is what they’d been doing during most of their time off from recording sessions. ‘Exit 0‘ was recorded with Earle’s road band, the Dukes, instead of the usual team of Nashville session pros, and as a consequence it boasts a leaner, tougher sound than his debut, ‘Guitar Town‘, though the slightly slick cookie-cutter production by Tony Brown, Emory Gordy, Jr., and Richard Bennett saps a bit of the music’s power.
The album features a few great songs, including ‘I Ain’t Never Satisfied‘ (which could practically be Earle’s theme song) is an absolute clinic in writing and recording for the sake of the song. Townes would be proud. ‘The Week of Living Dangerously‘, ‘The Rain Came Down‘, and ‘Sweet Little ’66‘ are all noteworthy, ‘No. 29‘ is a hauntingly, yet sappy sentimental tune, while the TexMex Doug Sahm homage ‘San Antonio Girl‘, about a harlot complete with cheezy “Sam the Sham” Farfisa Organ, is an entirely appropriate closer for this trip.
And with this album in the books, the wheels of the plane have been lowered, the stewardess is reminding me to place my seat back into the upright position and we’re preparing to land in Buffalo.
Home again, home again…